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Saturday, 17 May 2008

S60 mp3 player rant: why is there no Symbian version of WinAmp?

There's no good, WinAmp-style mp3 player for Symbian S60. I tried about all of them, and none of them was good.
Deal breakers indicated with a *.

The winners: Nokia's built-in player, tamed with this folder structure workaround, and PowerMP3. Which one works best depends on which version of Nokia's player came with your phone. Runners-up: TTPod and LCG Jukebox. All the other music players for Symbian are a waste of time.

updated May 6, 2009


Nokia's built-in player
€0 (hidden in price of phone)

* Music Library only displays track title. No option to display tracks as artist-title or by file name, which makes navigation of large music collections unnecessarily complicated.
* Music Library ignores folder structure, which makes navigation of large music collections unnecessarily complicated. Workaround: copy the folder name to the composer field of the mp3 tags.
* Music Library is unable to ignore ringtone folder(s).
* Some versions of Nokia's music player don't have a "now playing" list. And those versions that have one can't append tracks to it. Selecting a new track or group of tracks overwrites the current list. (workaround: create a temporary ad hoc playlist)
* Playing a song automatically adds the entire virtual folder (artist, album, genre) to the "now playing" list instead of just the selected track.
- Opening a track from the file manager launches the player in reduced functionality mode.
- Player stores playlists in the root of the phone memory or memory card instead of in a user-defined folder.


ALON MP3 Player
US$20

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


CorePlayer
US$25

- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Program crashed when I tried to play an m3u playlist.
* Navigation by folders, but not by mp3 tags like artist or genre.


CubiX MP3 Player
US$12

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


EzPlay
US$5

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


FIVN Player
€6

* Lengthy search for tracks everytime you start the program.
* Displays all tracks in one giant, non-searchable list, which makes navigation of large music collections impossible. No ordering by genre or artist, completely ignores folder structure or mp3 tags.
- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Player window doesn't indicate which track is playing.
* Doesn't support playlists.
* Can only play all tracks in alphabetical or random order. Can not play a selection of tracks, can not play tracks in user-defined order.


GlassPlayer
€3

* Endless requests to permit reading user data on phones that don't have an "always allow" setting.
* Refused to add any tracks to playlist.
* Refused to play any tracks.


Handy Music
free

* Shows all your songs in one big list which can't be searched. Useless for large music collections.
* Ignores folder structure and mp3 tags.


KD Player
free

* Refused to add tracks to library.


LCG Jukebox
US$25

- Lyrics viewer doesn't see lyrics stored in IDv2 tags.
- Player running in background shows on standby screen, but can't be controlled or launched from the standby screen.
- Closing the player from the exit softkey launches an "are you sure?" dialog which can not be switched off.
* No navigation by tags like artist or genre, only by folders.


LyricsPlayer
free

* Program extremely slow.
* No sound at all.
* Endless requests to permit reading user data on phones that don't have an "always allow" setting.


MMPlayer
US$18

- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Doesn't support .m3u playlists.
- Hard to navigate user interface.
* No navigation by tags like artist or genre, only by folders.


Mobile Media Player
free?

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


Mobiola Media Player
US$15

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


moremedia
US$10

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


MP3 BASE-STEREO-EQ
US$15

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


MP3Go
US$45

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


MP3 Gravity
€13

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


MP3 Music Box by Spinlet

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


MSI Blue Player
?

* Doesn't play anything without bluetooth devices.


muzee
US$15

* Doesn't support playlists.
* Couldn't test the program because it kept crashing.


MyStrands Social Player
free

- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Music Library ("My Music") ignores folder structure, which makes navigation of large music collections unnecessarily complicated.
* There's a "Playlists" entry in the "My Music" panel, but it didn't work with my m3u playlists.
* Plays all selected tracks in alphabetical or random order, but not in user-defined order.


OggPlay
free

- Installation is a mess. Expired certificate, needs special skin to work on most phones.
- Can't make playlists from within OggPlay.
- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Ignores the volume rocker.
* Lists of tracks, artists etc. can only be scrolled, not searched. Can't scroll lists of tracks, artists etc. by keeping the navigation button pressed. Scrolling requires a single keypress for each and every line, which makes large music collections impossible to navigate.


PowerMP3
free (beta test version)

* Music Library only displays track title. No option to display tracks as artist-title or by file name, which makes navigation of large music collections unnecessarily complicated.
* PowerMP3 gets the sort order of m3u playlists wrong if the lists were made or edited with other programs (such as WinAmp or Symbian's built-in music player), and songs with characters like ã, ç, and é won't show up in the playlists at all. And if you edit a playlist with another program, PowerMP3 won't pick up the changes.
- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
- Sorts music by mp3 tags artist, album, and genre, but not by composer.
- Beta test version.


RealPlayer for Mobile
free

* No version for S60 v3 available (yet).


S+Amp Music player
free

- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Ignores the volume rocker.
* Doesn't support playlists.
* Displays all tracks in one giant, non-searchable list, which makes navigation of large music collections impossible. No ordering by genre or artist, completely ignores folder structure or mp3 tags.


Telstra Music Player
free (not available for non-telstra customers)

- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Ignores the volume rocker.
* Displays all tracks in one giant list which makes navigation of large music collections impossible. No ordering by genre or artist, completely ignores folder structure or mp3 tags.


TTMusic
free

* Program crashed on launch.


TTPod
free

- Active Standby screen mini player doesn't work.
* Doesn't support m3u playlists.
* No ordering by genre or artist, ignores mp3 tags (even though it has an mp3 tag editor).


UltraMP3
€5

* No version for S60 v3 available.


Viking Mp3Player
€10

* After installation the program did not appear in the applications manager of my phone.
- Player running in the background doesn't show anything on the standby screen.
* Doesn't support playlists.
* No ordering by genre or artist, completely ignores mp3 tags. Doesn't display subfolders as subfolders.
* Slow menus.


1 comment:

Miko said...

I hear ya. My only problem with the built-in Nokia player is that it only responds to the D-pad. I'd much rather use the number keys (or keyboard) for controlling the player (like LCG).